The wonder of all wonders

imageGod travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.

Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety–that is where he wants to be and no one can keep him from it. Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wodners, that God loves the lowly….God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the weak and broken. Dieterich Bonhoeffer (God Is In the Manger)

And that God would draw near to the weak, the broken, the unseemly, the unwanted, the lost and rejected means there is hope even for someone like me.

Abound in Hope

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3 ESV)

I whisper the above verse over and over again most nights. Especially nights with bad dreams and haunting memories that I fight in vain to make sense of knowing full well that there are some things that will never make sense in this life.

I hate being afraid.

I do not trust easily or well.

For a long time I beat myself up over them, trying to will myself into being better, into trusting more. It worked about as well as you’re imagining it did. Failure compounded upon failure.

Until the prevailing thought became a fervent desire for it all to be over and how that could happen.

I’m still there most days, and especially most nights.

It’s in the darkness that the monsters come out, whether it be in physical form when I was a child or in dreams and memories now.

So I whisper to myself, trying to turn my attention from the monster to the One who can help slay them.

But I have to be careful of it too, because when I get stuck there I begin to wonder what I’m doing wrong that it’s not getting better, and that thinking creates a whole other set of issues.

Sometimes staying in the midst of the memory is necessary. I don’t know why yet, but I’m choosing today to believe that instead of believing I’m doing something wrong and/or being “punished” for lack of trust.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)

I whisper that in the bleak moments as well.

I wish I could say that it’s simply a matter of choosing to turn to Him instead of being anxious or afraid, but it’s a battle. I hear the old scripts (you’re stupid, you’re worthless, you’re a failure, and so on) playing over and over again in my mind and I feel the tug of other less-healthy-much-less-desirable methods for handling those moments.

It’s a fight to rest in that moment, in the midst of a memory and believe it’s ultimately what God wants in order for true healing to occur.

It’s a fight because it’s really ugly and painful. I remind myself that it will get better “one day” too.

Some days that’s easier to believe than other days.

Last night was long and difficult. Today has been hard.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13 ESV)

Abundance

I made it to church this morning, and this statement from the message has captured my thoughts since the service ended:

We should always expect to be astonished in light of God’s abundance.

Now, sometimes God’s abundance isn’t my idea of abundance, but still it is astonishing when I consider it. I dare say, if I were more aware of just how abundantly God’s provision and care is, my life would be irrevocably changed in all areas.